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Conservative Care Beats Medication for Neck Pain

  • Study: January 3, 2012 issue of the Annuals of Internal Medicine  Spinal manipulation, exercise are each more effective than OTC pain relievers, narcotics and muscle relaxants

The six year study involved 272 adults ages 18-65 with nonspecific mechanical neck pain of two to 12 weeks' duration.  The group was divided into three divisions 91 participants Spinal Manipulation (specific spinal level to be treated left up to the discretion of the individual Doctor of Chiropractic) ; 91 participants home exercise(Therapists 2 hour sesssions 1-2 weeks apart and home daily exercise program requiring participants to perform 6 assigned exercises, 5-10 repititions, 6-8 times daily) 90 participants (under Medical Doctor care prescribing nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and acetaminophen or both.  With patients who did not respond or could not tolerate these drugs, narcotic medications and muscle relaxants were prescribed.)

Results of the study spinal maipulation and home exercise led to the greatest positive short-term and long-term outcomes, but the participants who received medication seemed to fare worse, with a consistently higher use of pain medications for neck pain throughout the trial's observation period. 

Information obtained from Dynamic Chiropractic, Volume 30, Number 4, February 2012

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